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Charles Williams - Love is a very special thing

July 19th, 2012

Charles Williams - Love is a very special thingCHARLES WILLIAMS

  • Love is a very special thing
  • EMI
  • 1975
  • Finland

Born in Columbus, Georgia, Charles Williams – not to be confused with the saxophonist Charles Williams who recorded for Mainstream records – started his musical career very early. He was only six when he had his first performance in a local church. Soon after a short period abroad, his family had moved to San Bernardino, California. Few years later, he started studying classical music at Music Teachers’ Association. By the late 1960s he had switched to rock and soul, and his first public performance from that period was in a religious concert in 1969 in front of 11000 people. And he got standing ovations. After a short period when he had a jazz trio called Sensations, he formed his own soul rock group called Manna. On that group was playing one Billy Carson, who followed Charles to Finland and later played drums and percussion with for example Jukka Tolonen and Timo Kojo. Billy Carson did by the way the first rap recording in Finland with Kojo in 1982 (it was released in 1983 on Kojo’s Time won’t wait album). They also recorded an album with Manna but it never got released - although the raw mix versions got some airplay in California. By the mid 1970s he had already recorded most of the tracks intended for his forthcoming album when he met a Finnish girl in Cali and followed her up north to Finland.

“When I got here I soon realised that there wasn’t that much soul music in Finland. One day I heard Kirka singing his cover of “Living for the city” and it sounded nice to me. I contacted his label (EMI) and I told I had done such music myself. They took my music for listening and they liked it. So next I went to the Marcus Music studio in Stockholm to do the final mixing for the album. Why Stockholm? Because I knew Marcus Music was the place in Scandinavia.”

The band backing Charles Williams on this album (except on “Reason to make you smile”, that was backed by Finnish musicians) was called Psalm 150. They were all white gospel-rock band - although they called themselves funky gospel band. They recorded two albums in mid 1970s but the second one remains unpublished to this very day. Their only album that came out was called Make up your mind and it was released in 1974 by Manna music. It’s also released in Sweden by Pilot if somebody got interested. I guess by the time Love is a very special thing was released, Finland wasn’t ready for soul music as sophisticated as this was. The album sold poorly and the distribution was very minimal, thence the album is extremely rare and in some circles very in demand.

Musically Love is a very special thing is very soulful and calm toned with strings and Williams’ falsetto. It starts with the blaxploitation anthem sounding instrumental “Theme from long road” with strong percussion work by Greg Eckler, wistful strings and very catchy horns stabs. Williams had said that this tune came to his mind while driving his car on a highway. There was nothing good on the radio so he started to hum something he wanted to hear. For me it’s clearly the best track on the album. Next is a guitar heavy ballad called “Helen”. It’s followed by the reason why the record is in demand, the crossover soul track “Standing in the way” where Williams does himself his own backing chorus. “Standing in the way” was also released as 45, but it’s ever rarer than the LP. It was also reissued on 45 by Lifesaver records ten years ago. Last track on side a is another ballad, “Reason to make you smile”, the only track that was composed and recorded in Finland. B-side starts with another funky midtempo soul track “Change it”, which was also on the a side of the “Standing in the way” 45. According to Williams it wasn’t intended to be for dancefloors, it was a reflection of a person shouting ‘I wanna change it’. Next comes again another ballad, the title track “Love is a very special thing” followed by the instrumental of “Standing in the way” called simply “Standing”. Finally the last track, epic ten minute “Your life” ends the album. It’s a main theme from the film Too late to wait - although I’m not sure if such film was ever made. Overall Love is a very special thing is quite a nice album as a listening experience, though I personally don’t consider it worth the 200-300 euros people keep asking for it.


Theme from long road


Standing in the way


Change it


Standing


Your life

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under europe, soul | No Comments »

Jörgen Petersenin orkesteri - Mukana musiikki

October 9th, 2011

Jörgen Petersenin Orkesteri - Mukana MusiikkiJÖRGEN PETERSENIN ORKESTERI

  • Mukana musiikki
  • Top Voice
  • 1975
  • Finland

Jörgen Petersen (RIP) was born in Randers, Denmark, in 1931. He was a very talented child and started his first band when he was only 12. By the age of 14 he was already making his living by playing trumpet as the youngest professional musician in Denmark. In 1954 he joined the Al Stefano’s orchestra, that was the most famous Latin-American music orchestra in Denmark that time. With them he visited Finland in 1956. The same time he also met his future wife and in 1957 moved to Finland for good. Petersen started to play with various bands and orchestras until he got a vacancy in the trumpet section of Radion Tanssiorkesteri (Radio Dance Orchestra) - which lasted 13 years. In 1959 he also joined the very popular Ronnie Kranckin Orkesteri (Ronnie Kranck’s Orchestra) for eight years. It didn’t take long until Petersen found himself working for PSO - Pohjoismainen Sähkö-Osakeyhtiö (Nordic Electric Ltd.), a major record label in 1960s and 1970s Finland. He was a producer, songwriter, arranger, conductor and a trumpet player - a true jack of all trades. And a very productive one too. During his whole career he participated - as a musician, writer, arranger, conductor or producer - within over 5500 recordings. And that’s really exceptional in a small country like Finland. Petersen was also the first Finn ever to score a song in a Billboard Top 100 list - although he wasn’t actually a Finn that time. It was his breakthrough song “Boulevard of broken dreams” that hit the US charts in 1961. Petersen finally took the Finnish citizenship in 1981 and remained very active character in Finnish music scene until 1987 when his doctor forbad trumpet playing from him and he withdraw himself from the publicity. Petersen passed away in 2009 at the age of 77.

During his active years, Petersen released several albums of his own too. Either as himself or with his orchestra. In 1975 he released an album called Mukana musiikki (Including the music in English). It was a typical album for him, full of instrumental covers of contemporary songs and few original compositions - all with a certain easy listening feel of his “golden trumpet”. There’s versions of songs like “Era”, “Jeannie, Jeannie”, Ding-a-dong”, “Let me be the one”, “El Bimbo” and “Emmanuel”. All quite dull easy listening numbers. The stand out songs on this album are the first three on the side b. First up is a song called “Strip-tease”, a song written by Paul Lupano (a pseudonym of song writer and lyricist Martti Piha) that was first recorded by Petersen in 1959 - although it was a pretty different version back then. “Strip-tease” is a very funky uptempo track with a quite heavy drum and percussion beat, but with slightly easy listening feel at times. Almost like the music from Nikke Knatterton series - you all remember those, right? Next up is “Itsehän sen tein” (”I did it myself”), a funky almost downtempo track with a very melancholic trumpet. The third good one is “Yli rajojen” (”Over the borders”), a bboy friendly midtempo funk track with breaks and a quite banging percussive beat. Both of the latter are written by Petersen himself. Of all his albums, Mukana musiikki is clearly the funkiest one.


Strip-tease


Itsehän sen tein


Yli rajojen

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under easy listening, europe, funk | No Comments »

Goblin - Profondo rosso

October 3rd, 2011

Goblin - Profondo RossoGOBLIN

  • Profondo rosso
  • Cinevox
  • 1975
  • Italy

Inspired by the last weekend’s Goblin gig in Helsinki, I just had to make this post. Although their heavy-prog’ish live sound, the music is really amusing with it’s weird synthesizer sounds and cinematic beats.

After several phases and bands in their early career, Claudio Simonetti and Massimo Morante formed the Goblin band in 1973. During the years they have profiled as one of the top class horror soundtrack scorers in the world. Goblin’s first release was a soundtrack in 1975 to a Dario Argento film called Profondo rosso. Or Deep red as the English title is.

A musician witnesses the murder of a famous psychic, and then teams up with a fiesty reporter to find the killer while evading attempts on their lives by the unseen killer bent on keeping a dark secret buried. (IMDB)

The music in Profondo rosso is clearly divided in two different types. There’s dramatic scoring just perfect for the suspense and horror of the movie. And then there’s jazzy and funky Italian style soundtrack tracks. “Mad puppet” with it’s weird and slightly kaotic start is a little stagnant suspence theme, but rather good one. “Wild session” starts with a long dramatic intro turning to a jazzy cinematic funk track with creeping synths and horns. The title track “Profondo rosso” also starts with some haunting synths and then turns into another cinematic funk meets dramatic soundscapes track. However, in my opinion the best track is the uptempo drum frenzy “Death dies”, although the album version is missing the percussions that appear on the movie version. Profondo rosso sold over million copies within a year and remained in the charts for 52 weeks in a row. So it’s not that hard to find. The single release from the album, “Profondo rosso” / “Death dies” hit #1 on the charts and remained there 16 weeks and that’s a record that is yet to be broken. Overall this is my favorite album from Goblin - along with another great Dario Argento soundtrack, Tenebre.


Profondo rosso


Mad puppet


Wild session


Death dies

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under cinematic funk, drama, europe, jazz, soundtrack | No Comments »

Various - Disco sound special vol. 3

September 18th, 2011

VA - Disco Sound Special Vol. 3VARIOUS

  • Disco sound special vol. 3
  • Victor musical industries
  • 1976
  • Japan

This is the third volume of the Disco sound special series. Maybe it isn’t as strong as the second volume, but it also has it’s moments. It’s only a single LP release and it follows the line of the series except there’s no songs by any local bands. There’s some basic good disco tracks like “Save me”, “I like it” and “Fly, Robin, fly” by Silver Convention, “Lady pump” by Penny McLean, “Ooh what a night” by Linda G. Thompson and “Sexy lady” by Jumbo 76. What’s weird, there’s “Bump the bump pt. 2″ by Black Buster and “Bump me baby pt. 1″ by Dooley Silverspoon that both appear also on the second volume.

The best ones on this album include funky disco tracks “Funky lovin’” and “Hi fi woman” by the French group Ice - a band that used also names Lafayette afro-rock band, Bobby Boyd congress and Crispy & co. among some others. Ice tracks are both taken from their album Frisco disco (US release was named Import/export) from 1975. The Japanese also seem to have loved the Philippine group Black Buster a lot as there’s again three songs from them in this compilation. Besides the mentioned “Bump the bump pt. 2″, there’s funky midtempo song “Hassle pt. 1″ and quite similar “Old man”, that starts with a nice break. Latter is propably their best known track and have been reissued several times. All the three songs from Black Buster are originally released on their Bump the bump album from 1975. Can’t help it, I just got to love these Japanese compilations.


Ice - Funky lovin’


Ice - Hi fi woman


Black Buster - Hassle pt. 1


Black Buster - Old man


Black Buster - Bump the bump pt. 2

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under asia, compilation, disco, funk | No Comments »

Various - Disco sound special vol. 2

September 14th, 2011

Various – Disco sound special vol. 2 VARIOUS

  • Disco sound special vol. 2
  • Victor musical industries
  • 1975
  • Japan

There’s at least three volumes in this series of very interesting Japanese disco compilations called Disco sound special. The most interesting of them all is this second volume. First disc of this two lp set contains on quite basic American disco stuff. There’s seven songs from Van McCoy & the Soul city symphony; “Back stabbers”, “Love is the answer”, “The hustle”, “Disco baby”, “Pick up the pieces”, “Get dancin’” and “Shakey Ground” are taken from two different Van McCoy albums. First two are from their 1974 album Love is the answer and the rest are from their 1975 album Disco baby. There’s also “Hey there lonely girl” by The Softones, “I (who have nothing)” by The Chambers Brothers, “Heavy fallin’ out” by The Stylistics, “Maybe” by The Three Degrees and “I can’t help myself (sugar pie, honey bunch)” by Donnie Elbert.

Disc two is the better one. There’s two songs, “Young kung’s” and “Kung fu fighting”, by the Belgian group The Sumos, a band which actually consisted of various members of the more famous Belgian group El Chicles. Then there’s “Bump me baby pt. 1″ by Dooley Silverspoon and “Bump the bump pt. 2″ by the Philippine group Black Buster. The real treat here however is the eight songs of the local Japanese group Soul Sounds Symphony. All of their songs are instrumental covers of pretty well known disco and funk tracks. There’s “Funky stuff” and “Jungle boogie” originally by Kool & the Gang, both heavily funky and groovy versions. MFSB’s “TSOP (The sound of Philadelphia)”, here named as “Theme from tv show “Soul train”", is a funky one but a little thinner than the original. Carl Douglas‘ “Dance the kung fu” gets also a very nice treatment and was reissued together with “Jungle boogie” by Dynamite soul few years ago. The other songs by The Soul Sounds Symphony include the covers of Minnie Riperton’s “Lovin’ you”, The Three Degrees‘ “When will I see you again”, Philly Devotions‘ “I just can’t say goodbye” and BT Express‘ “Do it (’til you’re satisfied)”. Bonus points from the cover.


Soul Sounds Symphony - Funky stuff


Soul Sounds Symphony - Jungle boogie


Soul Sounds Symphony - Theme from tv show “Soul train”


Soul Sounds Symphony - I just can’t say goodbye


Black Buster - Bump the bump pt. 2


The Sumos - Young Kung’s

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under asia, compilation, disco, funk | No Comments »

ABC Ansambl Angela Vlatkovića - ABC Ansambl Angela Vlatkovića

March 15th, 2011

ABC Ansambl Angela VlatkovicaABC ANSAMBL ANGELA VLATKOVIĆA

  • ABC Ansambl Angela Vlatkovića
  • Мелодия
  • 1975
  • Yugoslavia

Yugoslavian composer, arranger and band leader Angelo Vlatković did a lot of writing and arrangements during his active years in Yugoslavian music scene. He also had a group of his own called ABC. It was called Kvintet A-B-C first, but then the name evolved and several different forms appear depending on the country of release. In this self-titled album from 1975 the band was called Ansambl Angela Vlatkovića and Vokāli-instrumentāls ansamblis Angelo Vlatkovića, the latter being the Latvian form of writing. Why Latvian? The Russian national record company Мелодия (Melodija) had at least seven different manufacturing plants all over the huge country and all of those released different cover and label designs and used different languages. This one was pressed in Latvian factory, so the song titles and credits are written in Russian and in Latvian. There’s also different cover versions of this album pressed in other factories.

Musically this album follows quite well the trend that was prevailing that time. It’s full of cover songs from both Eastern bloc and the west. Only one song is an own composition by Vlatković, the really mellow and jazzy, flute driven instrumental groover “Za Tebe”. Among the western covers are Abba’s “Waterloo”, Demis Roussos‘ “Goodbye my love” and Gianni Nazzaro’s “Quanto è bella lei”. These are all quite dull nevertheless. There’s good ones included too of course. The cover of The Sweet’s “Poppa Joe” starts with a break and continues as a song very similar to the original. Uptempo cover of Junior Campbell’s “Hallelujah freedom” is a good one too with a break at the start and nice uptempo beats all over with some occasional organ work. Then there’s cover of Doobie Brothers‘ classic “Long train running”, a very interesting rockish breakbeat one, but not that banging as I hoped. On top of the cake there’s two local songs that are really funky and banging. Uptempo instrumental funk track “Snovi” (Dream) and an uptempo vocal number “Ima Vremena” (There are times) with a break in the middle and all. Although it’s hard to say if these are covers or own compositions as there’s no band members mentioned on the cover they’re still pretty darn tight. Nice record from the former Yugoslavia.


Poppa Joe


Hallelujah freedom


Long train running


Snovi


Ima Vremena

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under europe, funk, rock | No Comments »

Secret oyster - Vidunderlige kælling

March 11th, 2011

Secret Oyster - Vidunderlige KaellingSECRET OYSTER

  • Vidunderlige kælling
  • CBS
  • 1975
  • Denmark

Secret oyster was a short lived jazz-rock fusion supergroup from Denmark that was active only few years during the mid 1970s, but still released four albums. The group was basically a collaboration that emerged from the remnants of Danish prog, psych and fusion bands Burnin’ red Ivanhoe, Coronarias dans and Hurdy gurdy. Musically Secret Oyster was close to the fusion greats Mahavisnu orchestra, Nucleus and Return to forever. Vidunderlige kælling (wonderful bitch) was released in 1975 and was their third album. When Royal Danish Ballet asked them to provide the music for their forthcoming erotic ballet based on the poetry of Jens August Schade they accepted the offer. Besides being very controversial project due the nudity, the musical choice was also quite surprising. Jazz-rock fusion is not the first what comes to mind when thinking of ballet.

The album starts out calmly enough, with the orchestral “Intro” and the spacy “Stjernerne pa gaden.” Next up is “Sirenerne”, a funk-rock esque fusion track, that had some critics comparing them to Miles Davis‘ band at the time of Bitches Brew. “Astarte”, with its Middle Eastern vibes due the sitar work and quite hypnotic rhythm is also a great track. The best track can be found on the b-side however. “Bellevue” starts with a long break and continues as funk track with some fusion elements and two additional breaks in the middle and in the end. The rest of the b-side is again very calm and essential orchestrated material. The album ends with “Outro” that starts with an ominous Moog and string synths before climaxing to a fluttery finale. Weird but beautiful despite the slightly disturbing cover. Vidunderlige kælling was also released internationally with the same cover but under the name Astarte.


Sirenerne


Astarte


Bellevue

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under europe, fusion | No Comments »

Shigeru Suzuki - Band wagon

February 9th, 2011

Shigeru Suzuki - Band WagonSHIGERU SUZUKI

  • Band wagon
  • Panam
  • 1975
  • Japan

Shigeru Suzuki (鈴木茂) is a well known Japanese guitarist who started his career in late 1960s. In 1969-1972 Suzuki played in Happy End, a short lived band that played folk rock. His bandmates in Happy end included Takashi Matsumoto (松本隆), Eiichi Ohtaki (大瀧詠一) and Haruomi Hosono (細野晴臣) (of the Yellow magic orchestra fame). After Happy end was disbanded, Suzuki played in Hosono’s new band Tin pan alley, a band concentrating on exotica styled music.

Band wagon, the first solo album of Shigeru Suzuki, was released in 1975. Instead of folk rock or exotica, this album is funk and soul oriented. It was recorded in Los Angeles with additional local session musicians involved. Most of the tracks are vocal numbers but there’s also some instrumentals included. While Suzuki concentrates on slow funk jams, there’s also few funky midtempo soul songs. First track “砂の女” (Suna no onna) is very soulful funky song similar to the second one, “八月の匂い” (Hachigatsu no nioi). Third track “微熱少年” (Binetsu shōnen) is a guitar driven midtempo groovy soul track. Few instrumentals include “スノー・エクスプレス” (Sunō ekusupuresu) (read “Snow express”) and “ウッド・ペッカー” (Uddo pekkā) (read “Woodpecker”), really funky midtempo groovers. There’s also slow funk jams like “100ワットの恋人” (100 Watto no koibito) and “夕焼け波止場” (Yūyake hatoba) in the album. This is clearly one of the funkiest albums out of Japan, highly recommended.


100 Watto no koibito


Sunō ekusupuresu


Uddo pekkā


Binetsu shōnen


Suna no onna

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under asia, funk | No Comments »

Jean-Paul & Angélique - Jean-Paul & Angélique

January 26th, 2011

Jean-Paul & Angelique - Jean-Paul & AngeliqueJEAN-PAUL & ANGÉLIQUE

  • Jean-Paul & Angélique
  • Charter Line
  • 1975
  • Italy

Charter Line was an Italian label that released their pressings of various range of artists from Dionne Warwick and Herbie Mann to Arlo Guthrie and Todd Rundgren. They also released this mysterious Jean-Paul & Angélique album, from which you don’t seem to have any info at all except that there is this Charter Line pressing. Either it was never officially pressed before this or it had so limited quantities that there’s only few existing. The songs on this one sound like they are taken straight from those mid 1970s Italian library records made by Piero Umiliani or Alessandro Alessandroni. Songs vary from sensuos rare groove tracks like “Latte saldo” and the over 8 minute “Flute’s wind” to uptempo flute funk breakbeat groovers “Saucy san”, “Mooning” and the magnificent “Africa sound”. Really beautiful album, no fillers at all.


Latte caldo


Flute’s wind


Saucy san


Mooning


Computer man


Africa sound

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 23.08, filed under europe, rare groove | No Comments »

Kalevala - Boogie jungle

December 30th, 2010

Kalevala - Boogie jungleKALEVALA

  • Boogie jungle
  • Hi-Hat
  • 1975
  • Finland

Kalevala was a Finnish rock group whose musical style evolved from strict rock n’ roll to progressive and back to basic rock. The band was formed in 1969 as a trio - Juha Salonen on bass, Remu Aaltonen on drums/vocals and Albert Järvinen on guitar. A year later Aaltonen and Järvinen left the band to form a Finnish rock n’ roll supergroup The Hurriganes and were replaced in Kalevala by Markku Luukkanen (drums), Matti Kurkinen (guitar) and Harri Saksala (vocals). With this line-up they released one album in 1972, nowadays really rare and in demand People no names. Their second album Boogie jungle came out 1975 and the style was changed to straight up basic rock. Of course there was some changes inside the band too, Saksala on vocals was replaced by Zape “Limousine” Leppänen and Luukkanen on drums was replaced by Beaver Aitto-oja. There was also Ari Vaahtera on bass and Moog synthesizer as an addition to the line-up and Lido Salonen again on guitar. Finnish prog rock all-around-guy Jim Pembroke was also involved with this one, he did some backing vocals and wrote the lyrics.

As mentioned, the music itself is quite strict classic uptempo rock, with a slight hint of progressive elements left. All the tracks have pretty strong guitarwork which disturbs me a little though. Of course it’s not that bad if you’re into rock music. There’s some nice drumming all the way through too. “Mind the fly hunter” and “Snow Bill” are both nice breakbeat’ish rock songs. “While the fire’s warm” starts off with a drum break and continues as a pretty regular rock song. There’s also an uptempo bboy drumbreak in the middle of “Boogie” played by Limousine Leppänen. This album is not as rare as their debut, but really scarce even here in Finland. Good thing is that “Boogie” also appears on Hi-Hat’s Hat Rock 1 compilation from 1976.


Mind the fly hunter


While the fire’s warm


Boogie

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under europe, rock | No Comments »
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